tv Interview with Representative Ro Khanna CSPAN January 24, 2017 6:45pm-6:54pm EST
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' >> congressman ro khanna, democrat representing california's 17th district, why did you decide to run and when? >> i decided to run because i thought silicon valley was such an important district for the nation. we have this divide where some people have been part of the technology revolution benefiting, others have been excluded and i think the valley needs to be part of the solution to bring tech jobs to the heartland and across america. >> what about your background lends you to do that as the member of congress representing that area? >> well, i have been very very fortunate to work with a lot of the tech leaders in my community. i have the experience to serve in the president's administration at commerce, working on bringing manufacturing jobs back to the united states. i wrote a book about how we bring advanced manufacturing jobs and then was teaching economics at stanford so i have
really been thinking about how we deal with automation and globalization and how do we create these jobs of the future for everybody. >> what will you do on that? how are you going to try to accomplish that? >> i think we know that for every tech job it has a multiplier effect of almost four other jobs. and an economist at berkeley has shown the importance of these tech hubs. the challenge is how do we create these tech hubs not just in the cities but in other parts of the country. it requires in part a commitment on tech companies to try to expand in these areas. it requires grants and economic development in those areas. a commitment to training and education, not just for graduate degrees but also for practical vocational skills. let me give you an example. merrick college has a cybersecurity program. we know in this country there are 220,000 unfilled jobs in cybersecurity. they don't require a college degree. they pay between $75,000 and
$80,000. how do we take that program in silicon valley area and do that cross the country? >> describe your district. who are your constituents, what do they do for a living? >> the district is remarkable. it's the heart of silicon valley. apple, google, intel, tesla. a lot of folks work in tech. the myth is it's all tech. it's about 20% tech. you have folks who are nurses, teachers, who work for county government and who work in the trades. we have unions. it's a very very diverse community. the tech hub of course propels the economy but there are a lot of issues like anywhere alelse. people are concerned about the cost of living, about the price of housing, about the cost of college, and it's a district where you have incredible diversity. >> what legislation are you thinking about that you will do first?
where will you act first? >> one area that i care deeply about is reforming the political culture in washington. i ran not accepting tech contributions. i'm one of six members of congress who don't take pac money and i don't take lobbyist money. i think the message of this election was folks are tired of the influence of special interests and i would like to work on seeing if we could get rid of the pac contributions to congress. i also am open to some form of term limits, re-election of congress incumbents at 96%. these have become almost feudal estates passed from one generation to another. that's not how our democracy was supposed to work. it was supposed to be one of new voices. term limits have worked wonderfully in california where we have some of the most diverse gender diverse assembly and so if there's an opportunity to work on that for 12 years in the house, 12 years in the senate, i look forward to working there.
>> how many terms would you plan to serve? >> well, of course, i'm first serving one and then let's see if i do a good enough job to get a second. i will take it one step at a time. i think from take it one step a time. but if we had 12 years in the senate, 12 in the house, similar to what california does, i think it would be great for the country. >> tell us a little bit about your background. >> i was born in philadelphia, the son of immigrants. my interest in politics came from my grandfather, he gave me a sense that one could really make a difference in politics and it mattered. went off to school at university of chicago, where i had the coincidence of knocking on doors for president obama's very first campaign when he was running for
state senate, that gave me an interest in electoral politics. when the president won, i had the opportunity to serve in his administration. >> what kind of law did you practice? >> intellectual property, law litigation, and spent almost 15 years in silicon valley, two years were in washington at commerce. and one of the real honors of representing this district, you get to work with some of the most innovative, creative folks in the world. and my message, it's time for you to step up and answer the nation's call to serve. how do we provide opportunities for everyone to be part of this new economy. >> where do you think your interest comes from? >> well, the real entrepreneurs
are participating in inventing the future, and it's so exciting to see. people fail, fail, fail, then get up and succeed. that spirit is extraordinary. and we need to bring some of that spirit to washington. that was the spirit, frankly, during the new deal, when roosevelt had the idea of democratic experimentalism. try new things, be bold, be willing to take new risks, and i think we need to bring that back. have government be flexible, innovative, and move this country forward. >> you've been a new member for all of two days. >> right. >> have you figured out where you're going to live in washington? >> i haven't figured that out
yet. my wife and i still have a condo in fremont, but we're still looking. >> and what committees are you hoping to serve on? >> they say you serve on the committees where there is an opening when you're a freshman, so whatever the committee assignment is, i'm going to focus on the economic priorities, and how do we bring tech jobs for people across america? i really believe that is possible. >> thank you for the conversation. >> thank you for your time. now, a conversation on national security priorities hosted by the u.s. institute of peace.